Saturday, June 27, 2009

Anniken Huitfeldt - Norwegian Minister of Children and Equality

Et kultursensitivt barnevern (By Norwegian Minister of Children and Equality Anniken Huitfeldt) 26 September 2008
http://www.regjeringen.no/nb/dep/bld/dep/barne--og-likestillingsminister-anniken-/taler-og-artikler/2008/et-kultursensitivt-barnevern-.html?id=528038
In this speech, the Norwegian minister states: "Utvandringen til Amerika på 1800-tallet ga Norge en sikkerhetsventil i ei tid med sosial uro, rask folkevekst og mye fattigdom. En liten seilskute, "Restaurationen", førte de første 52 norske utvandrerne fra Stavanger til New York i 1825. Siden den gang utvandret omkring 900.000 nordmenn til USA og Canada fram mot 2. verdenskrig. Fra og med 1836 og til dampskipene overtok på slutten av 1800 tallet, seilte det hver sommer emigrantskip fra Norge til amerikanske havner." This is not correct. Historically, most Norwegians that immigrated to the USA came through the country of Canada, and Canadian harbours and ports, not American port or harbours. There were over 800,000 Norwegians that left Norway from the period mentioned, but not all went to "Amerika" as the minister states. Of the three countries in North America, the majority of Norwegians went to the USA, but others immigrated to the country north of the USA - Canada; and later thousands of Norwegians left the USA and immigrated to Canada. In addition, a small number of Norwegians immigrated to Mexico. Outside of these three countries in North America (Canada, Mexico, and USA), others went to New Zealand, and Australia et al. The minister states: "Fra og med 1836 og til dampskipene overtok på slutten av 1800 tallet, seilte det hver sommer emigrantskip fra Norge til amerikanske havner." This is not correct. The majority of the Norwegians that went to the USA, came through Canadian harbours or Canadian ports (approximately 500,000 of the 800,000 that went to North America), where they were received by the British and Canadian governments. Upon arrival in Canada and onto Canadian soil, they were processed through British and Canadian government immigration, and then moved onto the USA from Canada. Norwegians should look into the reasons they came though Canada. These Norwegians sailed mostly on immigrant ships to Canadian harbours and ports, not America as the minister writes. The majority of Norwegians came to North America through the Canadian harbour in the Ville du Québec, in the Province du Québec, in Canada. Most Norwegians coming to North America landed in Canadian harbours and ports, not American ones as she states. This is a mistake in what she states. In the book From Fjord to Frontier: A History of the Norwegians in Canada by Gulbrand Loken, Toronto: 1980 he writes "In the nineteenth century Canada was the corridor or passageway to the United States for over half a million Norwegians". (p. 14). Upon arriving in the Canadian port of Quebec (one of the French speaking parts of Canada) the majority of Norwegians would have heard the French language, as much as, if not more than English. Upon arrival, the Norwegians would have been processed through by British and Canadian government officials, and in many cases sick immigrants would have been quarantined on Grosse Île 48 km from the Canadian port of the ville du Québec (http://www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/qc/grosseile/index_f.asp). It's surprising a minister in the Norwegian government would make claim that most Norwegians that immigrated to the USA came though American harbours, when in facts they came through Canadian harbours and ports. It seems, many Norwegians honestly think the only part of their history that is worth mentioning relates to the USA.

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